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Web design w/ my first Mac

Jballz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 29, 2017
4
0
hi all, I’ve perused some threads and found useful guidance from the sticky posts on the subject but would like some specific opinions/advice for my situation. After 20 years on a PC, I have purchased my first MacBook (windows 10 was the las straw). I have had an iPhone since 2012. I have built several websites out of necessity over the years on pc (was good with frontpage in like 2004, have muddled through WordPress and built a couple very weak sites on Wix).

Should I stick to WordPress on a Mac?

Should I buy a Mac design program and learn it from scratch (I want to become a proficient web designer this year).

I have purchased domains via google with the intention of also hosting on google and basically putting all my eggs in that basket so I don’t have to deal with different hosting dashboards/etc (have a bad habit of getting stuck at bad hosts or otherwise complicating my life with incompatible bits, hence the idea to put it all with google). Thus far I have read nobody here suggesting using google for domains/hosting. Do you know something I do not?

I’m a fast learner but I am at Mac square one. Any guidance appreciated!
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
10,915
11,697
Vilano Beach, FL
OK, you're kind of conflating two different concepts, you've got two different decisions on deck (If I'm understanding your post correctly). One is the design/development tool to use (you mentioned Frontpage on Windows), the second is the site platform (you mentioned Wordpress).

If you really want to get proficient with web design, I'd suggest getting into the nuts and bolts, learning the core without using a tool that dilutes understanding how things really work. A good solid text editor, maybe one that's very attenuated to web design (i.e., that supports code completion, markup validation, even a preview mode). If you learn the code vs. learning the tool, you won't have to worry about what computing platform you use, what application you use, etc.

So you can build a nice, static website with the simplest of text editors, however, if you deploy this for a client, and there needs to be a mechanism to manage the content (maybe by the client themselves), you need some sort of CMS (content management system). This is where products like Wordpress (and Drupal, Joomla, Ubracco ...) come in: they provide CMS tools, but additionally are a whole platform for site development. They offer plugins to extend the functionality, a "meta-language" for development, templates and there's a huge community of resources for it. Vs. a static site, it requires an app server (it runs on PHP), a DB server (for content/auth storage), and generally people use a turnkey type service for this where you pay a fee and get a WP instance stood up as a single process (vs. just scoring a server, and having to install it yourself).

WP is it's own can of worms I'll leave you to research and wait for additional feedback, but in general it can be slow, buggy, unsecure (and you may not need the CMS or other features it provides - that's more about your business model than the technology).

Google hosting is solid, and I see they have Wordpress cloud instances, not sure of the pricing, but there's a _ton_ of options if you go that direction. I use some of their cloud computing resources like App Engine for Python/GO deployments.
 

Strider64

macrumors 6502a
Dec 1, 2015
814
3,349
Suburb of Detroit
I'm a PHP Developer and Designer that used to be solely a Windows user (30+ years) then switched over to OS X. I can vouch that you can do the same thing in OS X that you can do in Windows. My suggestion is learn HTML, CSS and (vanilla) JavaScript then branch off from there. In my particular case I went to PHP and have been coding in PHP for a while. The main reason I switched over to OS X is that I used to build my own PCs and found that I was spending to much time (and $$$) upgrading my computer than actually working on it. :D
 

cyb3rdud3

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2014
1,556
581
UK
A text editor is all you require. It’s. Very personal decision, some like TextMate some like Visual Studio Code etc.
 
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ndnsoftware

macrumors newbie
Feb 14, 2018
6
0
UK
I would recommend learning HTML/CSS/Javascript. Once you do you will have way more control over how your sites look than you ever will with wordpress. Most wordpress themes require a "pro" upgrade to make it fully functional. Instead of spending money on that, I would recommend buying something like Coda from Panic and learn how to do it yourself.

There are plenty of free tutorials and guides. W3Schools is particular good and one I always found easy to understand when first starting.
 

kemo

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
748
114
ProtonVPN
There are many great software options for you to start with web design, for example Affinity Designer is a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop, which has a purchase one time license fee instead of paying on monthly basis.

Anyway to become a great designer, it not only takes to understand design in a deeper level in order to deliver great UX, but more importantly at least a bit understand how the page would be coded (transferred from visual to live version) into HTML/CSS version.
Then you can end here to make the website static and simply host HTML/CSS or make the website dynamic by using Wordpress or any other solution...I have worked with many designers in the last 8 years and honestly, without at least a bit understanding how the HTML/CSS technologies works, it only makes it harder to cooperate.

In my opinion a designer should have a at least a basic understanding of HTML/CSS knowledge and preferably some UX understanding to become a successful web designer. Then there is knowledge of design itself...

Regarding the hosting, me personally for example, I'm using Amazon's EC2 instance, where I have configured a web server (Apache, PHP, MySQL) and set a virtual host in order to host how many websites I want without paying for each site individually.
But I can see the benefits in paying a hosting company to do it for you because if you do not want to go through the process of managing your server and setting it up yourself. Whether it is Google, or any other hosting company depends on your individual requirements and budget. You can get a pricy but high quality hosting for example from MediaTemple which are working great with Wordpress. It usually depends on the project and expected traffic.

Good luck with being a better designer!
 

baldwinjackson

macrumors newbie
Dec 29, 2017
1
0
I guess becoming a great designer doesn't required anything special like as you mentioned. I would recommend you to stick with WordPress and find an alternative to Photoshop on MAC. I have building different level websites using WordPress and been a front end developer WordPress never let me down. In fact now there are several WordPress managed hosting companies which automated the several server side operations on clicks. I would recommend you to buy a domain from Google point it to managed hosting environment and let them handle the rest. Well As a designer I would recommend you to make your self familiar with HTML, CSS and Javascript to commit what you can deliver. All the best.
 
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